The influence of exercise-induced fatigue on cognitive function

Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.
Journal of Sports Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.25). 04/2012; 30(9):841-50. DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2012.675083
Source: PubMed


Although anecdotal reports suggest that information processing and decision making is impaired immediately following prolonged periods of physical activity, results obtained from laboratory studies of exercise-induced fatigue have been inconsistent. Fatigue effects may be task specific and related to the time of post-exercise testing. The present study examined the effects on adults' performance of two cognitive tasks that differed in processing demands over an 80-min period of fatigue. Thirty young adult men and women were randomly assigned to either an exercise group and completed a 60-min bout of cycle ergometry at 90% ventilatory threshold or a control group and rested for 60 min. Following interventions, each participant completed a simple and complex version of a visual perceptual discrimination test, a 40-min memory-based vigilance test and a repetition of the visual perceptual discrimination tests. Those who exercised evidenced significant decrements in performance on complex perceptual-discrimination tasks compared to participants who rested. The response time of exercisers during a memory-demanding vigilance test were significantly slower than those of participants who rested; however, detection performance did not differ between groups neither was there a decrease in target detection across the vigil. The effects of exercise-induced fatigue may be task specific, with greater effects on perceptual tasks, which involve relatively automatic processing, compared to effortful memory-based tasks.

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